Venezuela replies that Merkel does not speak for whole of Europe
Amid a war of words between the Venezuela and German leaders ahead of this week's summit between the European Union and Latin American and the Caribbean, the Venezuelan government on Tuesday issued a statement stressing that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is not the EU's only voice, dpa reported.
Merkel told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa in an interview that left- wing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is not the voice of the region. Chavez replied aggressively late Sunday in his weekly radio and television programme, saying that Merkel belongs to the political right, "the same right that supported Hitler, fascism."
On Tuesday, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry demanded "respect" from Germany in a statement, and defined Merkel's original remarks as "unfriendly."
"The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela was surprised that the German chancellor, on the eve of her visit to our region to take part in the summit in Lima, attacks President Hugo Chevez, one of Latin America's democratic leaders," the statement said.
Venezuelan authorities added that Merkel's comments "cast doubt on the German government's intention to build closer friendship ties with all Latin American and Caribbean countries."
The Venezuelan government noted that respect, equality and non- interference must prevail so that bilateral and biregional relations develop in a friendly climate.
"Chancellor Merkel is not the only voice in the European Union, and one country alone will not be able to alter relations between Venezuela and the European Union, or biregional relations," the statement said.
Merkel travelled to Latin America on Tuesday and was expected in to meet Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Wednesday in Brasilia to discuss broader bilateral economic ties.
Merkel, Chavez and some 60 leaders from the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean are set to meet Friday and Saturday in Lima, for the summit that the two regions hold every two years.